Kirk Hadaway and Matthew Price’s presentation made to TEC’s Executive Council Yesterday

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Broader Measures of Church Vitality

To get a broad-based sense of congregational vitality, we have used a number of measurements including church school enrollment, marriages, funerals, child baptisms, adult baptisms, and confirmations. These speak to a parish's integration in the community and the possibility for future growth:
Change in church school enrollment: -33%
Change in number of marriages performed: -41%
Change in number of burials/funerals: -21%
Change in the number of child baptisms: -36%
Change in the number of adult baptisms: -40%
Change in the number of confirmations: -32%
While these numbers may not capture the totality of what is happening in the Church, we do not have a measure that is moving in a positive direction.

Do take the time to read and consider it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Executive CouncilTEC DataTEC Parishes* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship

10 Comments
Posted January 28, 2012 at 12:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. A Senior Priest wrote:

Much of the reason why TEC’s stats are even more abysmal than most other denominations is that in general TEC as a body is increasingly less representative of American Christianity.

January 28, 4:42 pm | [comment link]
2. sophy0075 wrote:

It is not Christian of me, I admit, but my word for today is
schadenfreude

January 28, 8:36 pm | [comment link]
3. Statmann wrote:

An excellent staistical presentation.: it is time for TEC to see these dreadful long run stats such as Infant Baptsms and Marraiges The decline in these two data series are so close to linear than one is tempted to predict the date of the last Infant Baptism (in 2024) and last Marraaige (in 2020), as some statistical wag did for the death of the last Christiaan in Spain.  I just could not resist the temptation.  Kyrie eleison.  Statmann

January 28, 9:21 pm | [comment link]
4. RalphM wrote:

All is well.

January 28, 11:48 pm | [comment link]
5. Mark Baddeley wrote:

I think the two maps are possibly the most arresting single thing in the document. Slight growth or slight decline at roughly 50-50 in the five years up to 2000; moderate to heavy decline almost everywhere in the ten years since then. I’ll happily accept that the old mainlines have been declining their share of the population for a long time, but this is different again - this is a rapid decline in the numbers, that happened in the first decade of this century.

I predict that in a couple of years they will have come to terms with this and will be prepared to say openly, “We’re dying because of our stand for progressive social issues and willingness to accept people who revise Christian doctrine as leaders, and we’re okay with that. It’s not a fun place to be, but that’s what is right.”

I don’t think that will change anything substantial, but it will be a change.

January 29, 7:18 am | [comment link]
6. David Keller wrote:

#5—The Standing Commision for Domestic Missionary and Evangelism said that in 2004. No one cared except the PB. And as a result, the orthodox members of the Commission were rotated off and replaced by social justice liberals, who eventually presided over the dismantling of the church growth cell at 815 and used the money to hire a litigation coordinator. Any questions about why TEC is in free fall?

January 29, 8:22 am | [comment link]
7. Br. Michael wrote:

They need to add abortions blessed and the number of children baptized born to gay couples.

January 29, 8:27 am | [comment link]
8. Sick & Tired of Nuance wrote:

Ichabod.

January 29, 11:54 am | [comment link]
9. New Reformation Advocate wrote:

Statmann (#3),

Glad you chimed in here.  I had a similar reaction.  As horrendous as these figures are, I fear the future ahead for TEC is going to be much, much worse.  TEC is on the verge of implosion.  Negative momentum is building, and the decline is snow-balling.  After all, there is such a thing as critical mass, and once you pass a certain threshold, parishes cease to be viable, and then the institution is in free fall.

Alas, TEC’s deluded leadership seems stuck in denial about the seriousness of all this dire data.  The desperate urgency of reversing these catastrophic trends seems lost on them.  Or as David Keller has reminded us, some of the powers-that-be at 815 and in diocesan offices around the country seem to have made a deliberate decision to sacrifice everything else for the sake of the Holy Cause of the Day, whatever that “progressive” and politically-correct cause happens to be at any given moment.

As I noted on a parallel thread a couple days ago, the alarming stat that jumped out at me was the huge and rapidly growing gap between the very large number of churches declining rapidly (10%+ in the last five years) and the vastly smaller number of those few congregations growing 10% or more.  Between 2006 and 2010, a stunning and disastrous 57% of TEC’s domestic churches declined by 10% or more, versus a mere 17% that grew by 10% or more. 

Incredible. 

IOW, rapidly shrinking churches dwarfed the number of rapidly growing churches.  There were more than three severely declining churches for every growing one.  A 40% gap (57% vs. 17%), and a more than 3-to-1 ratio of declining to growing churches.  That’s just deadly.

But bad as that is, the future looks much worse yet.  We all know that TEC is graying badly.  But did Executive Council let it sink in that a whopping 30% of TEC is now made up of seniors 65 and over, when only 13% of the national population is that old?? 

Pathetic.

With weddings down 41%, child baptism 36%, and confirmations down 32%, we are like a factory that has not only seen a drastic reduction in output, but also what is much worse, a severe reduction in production capacity.  Switching metaphors, it’s like a desperate farmer selling off most of his seed corn.

By becoming so pro-gay, TEC has inevitably become anti-family, and that is going to hurt TEC badly.  But even worse has been the abject capitulation to the vapid, empty universalism espoused by the shameless PB and so many ordained and lay leaders like her.  A church that can’t, or won’t, evangelize is doomed.

In keeping with the whimsical spirit of Statmann’s closing thought, I offer this concluding thought of my own?

Will the last one left in TEC please turn out the lights on your way out?  Thanks.

David Handy+

January 30, 11:53 am | [comment link]
10. trimom wrote:

Tut, tut, tut you silly people. Don’t you realize that when the same sex marriage rite is passed that marriages will be up 10 fold, nay maybe even 20 fold!! We will be BURSTING at the seams with so many new families and they will adopt many children (and we can baptize them) and they will generously open their wallets and tell ALL their friends to do the same. Oh, wait. We tried that a few years ago, didn’t we?

July 10, 11:35 am | [comment link]
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